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"Playing in the Band" is a Grateful Dead song. The lyrics were written by Robert Hunter and rhythm guitarist Bob Weir composed the music. The song first emerged in embryonic form on the self-titled 1971 live album Grateful Dead. It then appeared in a more polished form on Ace, Bob Weir's first solo album (which included every Grateful Dead member sans Ron "Pigpen" McKernan).It has since become one of the best-known Grateful Dead numbers and a standard part of their repertoire. According to Deadbase X, it would end up as the fourth-most played in concert Dead song in their long career with 581 performances (not counting isolated reprises), trailing only "Me & My Uncle", "Sugar Magnolia", and "The Other One".Origins"Playing in the Band" was also included on Mickey Hart's 1972 Rolling Thunder solo album within "The Main Ten", making reference to the song's time signature of 10/4. "The Main Ten" appears on Dick's Picks Vol. 16, from their performance at the Fillmore West on November 8, 1969. On that set, it appears in the middle of "Caution (Do Not Stop On The Tracks)". It was introduced at least by the June 19, 1968 show from the Carousel Ballroom, in which it appears somewhat indistinct from the preceding and following jams.